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Cancer-Causing HPV Virus Affects 1 in 4 US Men

Cancer-Causing HPV Virus Affects 1 in 4 US Men

During a recent two-year period, nearly 23 percent of USA adults ages 18 to 59 had a type of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) that put them at high risk of certain cancers, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published Thursday.

The figure actually increases to more than 42 percent between 2013 and 2014 if all forms of genital HPV are included, according to the CDC report. "Other types are considered high risk, causing cancer in different areas of the body including the cervix and vagina in women, penis in men, and anus and oropharynx (mouth and throat) in both men and women".

The study also showed evidence that the vaccine protected against three other high-risk HPV genotypes involved in the development of cervical cancer.

Levels of a cancer-causing virus have fallen sharply after a vaccination campaign.

While great progress has been made in creating HPV vaccines, current approaches to prevent infection have limitations. Most of these go away on their own, typically without even causing symptoms, but some HPV strains can lead to genital warts and cancer.

Dr. Lois Ramondetta, a professor of gynecologic oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, told NBC News a year ago: "There is an epidemic of HPV related cancers in men, specifically those of the tonsil and the back of the tongue". As such, the CDC recommends all kids between the ages of 11 or 12 be vaccinated, though women can still be vaccinated up to age 26 and men through age 21. "People really need to realize that this is a serious concern". As the disease predominantly affects women aged 25-29, the researchers are hoping to observe a decrease in new cervical cancer diagnoses within the next year. Some people still think vaccination encourages youth to become promiscuous.

While vaccination rates have been increasing, they still lag for both boys and girls.

There are about 12,000 cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in the United States annually - and each year, about 4,000 women die from it.

The prevalence of oral HPV was lowest among Asian adults and highest among black adults.

Positive results of the study would offer women the opportunity to protect themselves and their sexual partners against potentially deadly HPV infection through the simple application of an affordable, over-the-counter product.

But when we talk about cervical cancer, prevention and screening are key.

Lingering misconceptions and fears are among the reasons for the lower HPV vaccine uptake, said Electra Paskett, a cancer control researcher at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. "If effective, this approach can be a cheap, women-controlled way that can empower women to protect themselves from HPV and cervical cancer", says Einstein.

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